Paul Douglas

  1. William Bendix, The Babe Ruth Story, 1948.  “The laugh-by-laugh, tear-by-tear, cheer-by-cheer story of America’s most beloved guy…” When it came to biopic the famed baseball star (22 Major League Baseball seasons with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees), George Herman Ruth (1895 -1948) was too ill to play himself.  Rather than risk a newcomer, producer-director Roy Del Ruth checked real – and fat actors. From Jack Carson (Warner Bros  would not loan him),  Paul Douglas and Dennis Morgan to…  Orson Welles!!! Babe however, also aka The Bambino and The Sultan of Swat, chose Bendix. He owed him!  As a kid in the 20s, Bendix was a Yankee Stadium bat boy and got  what The Babe wanted before one game – 15 hot dogs and sodas. Naturally, he was then in no condition to play ball. The Yankees lost. And Bendix was fired!  Ruth died 21 days after attending the July 26th, 1948 premiere. Bendix didn’t resemble him until wearing a new nose.  (How Welles would have loved that).
  2. Phil Harris, Wabash Avenue, 1949.    The Phil Harrises lost a co-starring chance when hecame in one door to play her lover wannabe, and his wife, Alice Faye, slipped out a side door… and was replaced by the star of the original version, Coney Island, 1941. Betty Grable.
  3. Broderick Crawford, Born Yesterday, 1950.     Douglas was Broadway’s Harry Brock – and he’d had a row (and a   drink) the night Columbia’s Harry Cohn went to the theatre. “Guy’s got no vitality,” snapped “King” Cohn. Or, not as much as his argumentative pal, the All The King’s Men Oscar-winner.   Playwright Garson Kanin fought for Douglas. And   Paul refused, feeling Judy Holliday’s   role had been overly built up.    He wed   her   Broadway   understudy,   Jan Sterling, 1950, and made The  Solid Gold Cadillac with Judy (for Cohn!) in 1956 – the year he played Brock on TV! 
  4. Reginald Gardiner, Halls of Montezuma, 1950.   Change of the top brass, from Douglas and Dana Andrews to Gardiner and Richard Widmark, as director Lewis Milestone fights WWII – again. Try as hw might – Our Russian Front, Edge of Darkness, The North Star, The Purple Heart, Arch of Truth – nothing could match his 1929 classic: All Quiet on the Western Front.
  5. Broderick Crawford, Human Desire, 1953.  Austrian director Fritz Lang hated the title.  “What other kind of desire is there?” Brando hated everything else. “I cannot believe that the man who gave us the über dark Mabuse, the pathetic child murderer in M and the futuristic look at society, Metropolis, would stoop to hustling such crap.”  Lang was also considering Olivia De Havilland,  Rita Hayworth and Jennifer Jones for Glenn Ford’s lover…. While Hollywood gossip hen Louella Parsons said the producers really wanted Lang’s 1951 Clash by Night line-up: Pau; Douglas, Robert Ryan and Barbara Stanwyck. The perfect Vickie was also in  that movie. Marilyn Monroe!
  6. Jack Carson, Rally ’Round The Flag, Boys! 1958.    Change of Captain Hoxie  in a comedy once planned for everyone’s favourite slapstick star… Richard Widmark??!!
  7. Fred MacMurray, The Apartment, 1959.   The brilliant auteur Billy Wilder saw Douglas and his wife eating out. “Absolutely ideal. I asked him right there in the parking lot.” He was cast in August and dropped dead of a heart attack on September 11, two days before shooting began. Wilder and co-writer IAL Diamond were shattered and eventually said as one voice: Fred MacMurray!


 Birth year: 1907Death year: 1959Other name: Casting Calls:  7